SPURS boss Martin Jol last night revealed that it is strange for a Dutchman to see Patrick Kluivert struggling to get into the Newcastle team, writes Scott Wilson.

The Dutch international claimed centre stage on Thursday night as his second-half goal helped the Magpies earn the 3-1 win at Olympiacos that makes them firm favourites to reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup.

But, while Kluivert can boast five goals in his five European appearances this season, he has still struggled to hold down a place in Graeme Souness' preferred starting line-up.

Shola Ameobi has kicked off far more games than Kluivert since the turn of the year, with a combination of poor form and a troublesome muscular problem restricting the former Ajax striker's involvement.

Jol is widely revered as one of the most prominent figures in Dutch football after playing at every level for his country and spending eight years in charge of Roda JC and RKC Waalwijk.

The Spurs boss is an admirer of Kluivert's talent but, while he can understand why the enigmatic 28-year-old is no longer an automatic first choice, he still struggles to come to terms with one of his country's brightest lights warming the Newcastle bench.

"Kluivert is the top scorer for the Dutch national team," said Jol. "He has scored more goals than (Johann) Cruyff and he is still relatively young.

"At club level, he played for Ajax when they were the best in Europe and then went to Barcelona and won everything in Spain. In Holland, he is one of the biggest players there is.

"You can compare with him someone like (Fernando) Hierro, who is a legend in Spain but now plays for Bolton Wanderers and doesn't always get into the team.

"It's strange for a Dutch person to see Kluivert at the moment, and it's the same for a Spaniard with Hierro.

"But it's difficult for Newcastle to play with two target-men. They have played with (Alan) Shearer and Kluivert in the past, but it seems the combination they prefer is Shearer and Ameobi."

Kluivert is playing for his Newcastle future in the next two months and, with his current one-year deal due to expire in May, his prospects of staying on Tyneside would be enhanced if he were to help the club lift the FA Cup.

Tomorrow's quarter-final follows hot on the heels of Thursday night's win in Greece but, while continued continental success is ensuring a packed fixture programme, the current glut of games could be helping rather than hindering Newcastle's cause.

"It's easy to switch from one competition to the other because the games are so close," said Kluivert, who scored the all-important winner as the Magpies beat Chelsea in the FA Cup fifth round.

"You don't have time to reflect on what happened in Greece and get complacent and that's a good thing. If you wait weeks to play your next game it can be a bit more difficult to put what has happened in the past to the back of your mind.

"We have got a very good chance in both competitions, but only if we take it match by match."

Tomorrow's quarter-final brings Kluivert face to face with another former Ajax star who has hit the headlines for his temperament as well as his talent.

Egyptian striker Mido spent two years in Holland before moving to Celta Vigo, Marseille, Roma and then Tottenham in January.

The 22-year-old was heavily linked with Newcastle last summer and, at one stage, was even claiming that his agent had held talks with Freddy Shepherd about a proposed deal.

The Magpies' interest never got that far but, had Kluivert turned down a move to St James' Park, it is possible that Mido would have been at Newcastle instead.

The African has scored three goals in five games for Spurs and, along with the likes of Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane, he will provide a tough test of Newcastle's new-found defensive strength.

"Mido played at Ajax," confirmed Kluivert. "But it was a lot later than me and I don't know him that well. He seems to have made quite an impression at Tottenham, although they have got a lot of strikers and it's not certain that he will play.

"Tottenham have got some of the best strikers in the league. Defoe is a player I like and Keane is also capable of scoring good goals. They can all play with each other and that makes them dangerous."